Most landlords in the UK have seen their rents rise for new tenancy agreements with the highest rises seen in the East Midlands and Scotland, according to one rental index.
HomeLet says that between February and April the average rent rose to £764 per month, or a 5.1% increase, excluding London. The figures show that rents are rising faster than the inflation rate.
However, landlords in Scotland saw their rents grow by 11.4% to £704 per month and in the East Midlands they now stand at £646, a 7.9% rise. Rents in the capital have risen to £1,543 a month, an increase of 7.7% in the first three months - lower than the double digit increases that were seen last year. Landlords in the north-west, however, saw their rents fall by 1%.
Impact of stamp duty changes on private rents
Martin Totty, Barbon Insurance Group's chief executive, has said: “The HomeLet index has been anticipated after the impact of stamp duty changes on private rents and now with rent price increases in most regions shows that growth is unchanged from trends seen over the last three years.
“The trends we see might soon begin to reflect the slowdown in house price growth which we are now seeing and it's something to watch closely.” Another index published this week also underlines a continuing growth in rents – helped, in part, by a lack of rental homes.
Your Move director Adrian Gill says that growing numbers of buy-to-let landlords are set on leaving the sector after the recent tax changes which will lead to drop in rental housing supply. He said: “Buy-to-let landlords being driven out will reduce supply and only punish tenants with higher rents and lower choice.”
Help needed to protect tenants from rogue landlords
Meanwhile, the Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) says radical action is now necessary to protect tenants from the industry’s rogue landlords and, they say, there's little enforcement of regulations from local authorities.
The RLA made its claim after submitting Freedom of information requests to councils, and from the 255 responses they say that over the last five years just 827 landlords have been prosecuted.
The RLA says that it does not believe there are so few rogue landlords and there are now more than 140 laws covering this issue and empowering local authorities.
Good landlords and tenants are being let down
The RLA's chairman, Alan Walker, said: “Good landlords and tenants are being let down because the system cannot cope to weed out crooks with the powers already available. Unsafe and unsanitary housing puts tenants’ rights in jeopardy and angers most decent landlords.”
The RLA is now calling for the overhaul of the regulations to target rogue landlords more effectively and free good landlords who enjoy good relations with their tenants.